Milwaukee Bucks: Bob Dandridge finally gets his call into the Hall of Fame

LANDOVER, MD - CIRCA 1975 (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - CIRCA 1975 (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

No longer does one Milwaukee Bucks legend have to wait for his induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame.

Sunday morning brought the long overdue announcement that Bucks legend Bob Dandridge will be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame this fall. Dandridge’s selection comes by way of the veteran’s committee and he is among a star-studded class that is headlined by the likes of Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber and many more.

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Of course, no one had to wait longer to earn their call into the hall more than Dandridge in this 2021 class as it’s been nearly 40 years since the Virginia native last played in the NBA, which served as his second and brief stint with the Bucks.

It was in Milwaukee where Dandridge first made a name for himself after they selected him with the 45th overall pick in the fourth round of the 1969 NBA Draft, the same draft that Milwaukee selected Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the first overall pick.

Dandridge may have had to stand in Abdul-Jabbar’s shadow upon his arrival, but the Norfolk State product steadily emerged into being an incredible well-rounded contributor in his own right. And with the formation of the Bucks’ ‘Big 3’ with the arrival of the great Oscar Robertson, Dandridge’s importance only grew further to the Bucks.

Bob Dandridge played an indispensable role for the Milwaukee Bucks

From that standpoint, it’s absolutely fitting that Dandridge’s call to the hall comes not long after the 50th anniversary of the Bucks’ 1970-71 championship-winning season.

The Greyhound, as coined by legendary Bucks announcer Eddie Doucette, wore plenty of hats as he filled the gaps in between Abdul-Jabbar, Robertson as well Jon McGlocklin and Greg Smith within the Bucks’ starting unit. Dandridge thrived playing the Bucks’ breakneck pace and took on tough defensive assignments by often guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter player or even hanging down low.

Dandridge, though, had a knack for raising his game when it mattered most. To that point, No player scored more points during the NBA Finals throughout the 1970s than Dandridge over his three appearances (two with Milwaukee and one with the then-Washington Bullets).

While he may have stood as the Bucks’ unsung hero during the early 1970s, Dandridge’s teammates sung his praises long after he had retired. Take this quote from Robertson in a piece by Curtis Harris for ESPN that had centered on Dandridge’s long wait for the hall:

"“I really don’t think Bobby knew how good a basketball player he was,” says Robertson, who played a role in Dandridge’s scoring average increasing from 13.2 points per game in 1969-70 to 18.4 PPG in 1970-71. “He was a very, very efficient basketball player.”"

As the Bucks’ ‘Big 3’ dissolved, with both Abdul-Jabbar eventually leaving Milwaukee for the Los Angeles Lakers and Robertson retiring after their run to the 1974 NBA Finals, Dandridge stepped up in their place to hold it all together. The Bucks had long passed their run for glory and soon Dandridge departed Milwaukee for the nation’s capital following 1976-77 season under plenty of acrimony.

However, those ill feelings have long since disappeared. Dandridge’s famed no. 10 Bucks jersey hangs in the rafters of Fiserv Forum after it was retired in March of 2015 in a game that fittingly came against the Washington Wizards. And to this day, no player has played more minutes in Bucks history than Dandridge at 22,094 total minutes and he currently ranks sixth in the franchise’s all-time scoring list.

With all of the time that has passed and success he enjoyed over his 13 NBA seasons, Dandridge holds Milwaukee in high regard for how arriving to the city and playing for the Bucks transformed his life for the better. Just as he recently told Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"“Milwaukee is where I grew into manhood, you know?” Dandridge said. “Coming there at the age of 21 and leaving when I’m like 29 or 30. Milwaukee is just a special place for me alongside winning a championship and still having a lot of good friends in Milwaukee and still having a quality connection with the Milwaukee Bucks…“As we get older we realize, I have realized that, being in cold weather ain’t that bad after all,” he said with a laugh. “I’m just glad that I had the opportunity to play on that championship team.”"

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It’s been a long time coming for Dandridge, but his basketball journey is now finally complete with this prestigious honor. Dandridge finally enters the hallowed halls of Springfield where he has long belonged and this time, he’s the one completing the Bucks’ ‘Big 3 of Abdul-Jabbar, Dandridge and Robertson.